by Lesa L.
Summary: An episode addition to "Look at the Princess." One writer's idea of what happened during some of the scenes we didn't get to see and one we did.
Author Notes: While I've written other fanfic, this was my only attempt at Farscape fiction. This was written many years ago during the original run of the series.
Story Notes: Spoilers through LatP.
Disclaimer: I never owned them.
John Crichton sat in the familiar comfort of his module drinking in the soothing hum that was Moya. There were things he could be working on but he lacked the energy or the desire to do anything but sit. The adrenaline he'd been running on for the past few days had finally deserted him. He leaned back, staring blankly out at the leviathan's walls around him. The events of the past week swirled through his mind like an MTV video set on mute. One tangible thing separated from the rest of the visions.
In the time he'd know her he'd seen those beautiful eyes happy, sad, thoughtful, angry, curious, scornful, teasing and flat out sexy. He'd thought he'd read every subtle and not so subtle message those eyes could send. He was wrong.
He took a long, deep breath and thought about what had happened between him and Aeryn that day. He remembered racing through the palace corridors to the healing facilities after he'd been contacted about her condition. The surgical reconstructor's explanation of what had occurred caused his stomach to lurch unpleasantly. Aeryn easily could have died if not from her injuries, simply from exposure in that isolated area. For a brief instant he'd felt a quick flash of jealousy when he thought of her with Dreagan, then a sharp stab of guilt when he thought about what he'd been doing at about the same time.
The healer had told him that fixing the leg had been the first priority; they were awaiting the results of tests that would tell them how soon Aeryn could resume normal activity. She went on to say that the other minor injuries were being worked on as they spoke. He'd brushed off her suggestion that he wait a while to see her and opened Aeryn's door.
He entered a small sitting room barely large enough to hold a side table and two chairs. Another door stood on the opposite wall, a small window allowing you to view the patient without their knowledge. He'd held his breath as he looked through at her. She'd sat on a bed with several fat bolster pillows behind her. Wrapped in a white sleeveless gown, a soft blue sheet covered her from the waist down. A male technician was moving a small hand held object over the skin of her arms.
Downcast and thoughtful.
He thought about what the healer had said that Aeryn with a broken leg had managed to drag an injured Dreagan to safety. A rush of pride in her warrior abilities warmed him just as the sight of all her injuries caused another clench of pain in his stomach. The delicate lines of her face were still marred by deep scratches and dark shadows under her eyes told of the pain she'd endured. Then she turned her head and looked at him.
Alight with joy.
He pushed open the door and rushed toward her. Feeling the weariness and pain he himself had experienced stream off like water in the light of her happiness.
"What happened?" she asked, impatiently pulling her arm away from the technician. "We can finish that later. Just leave now!" The man nodded, understanding their need to be alone and silently left.
Eagerly flashing questions.
"How can you be here? I know the wedding took place. Does this mean it's for good this time? You're coming back to Moya with...us?"
He'd briefly explained about the decapitation by the Scarren, the acid bath and the subsequent reanimation. That he'd spent a day away from the palace and just returned expecting to be refrozen, which to his surprise hadn't happened. Then he'd changed the subject. "Why didn't you tell anyone where you were going? Who you were with? I, we, were worried about you." She placed her hand on his arm and took a deep breath.
Hesitant and ashamed.
"John, you have to know, there is nothing between Dreagan and I. We went to the barren lands because I just needed to get away. I know you wanted me to be there but I couldn't. I behaved like a coward. I'm sorry."
He'd felt that now familiar churning in his gut. He reached for her ivory fingers grasping them like a drowning man. "It's okay. It doesn't matter. As long as you're all right, nothing else matters." He wanted to crawl into the bed and wrap his arms around her. He wanted to bury his face in her neck and just will away everything that had happened. He looked down at their intertwined fingers as he felt cold panic start to creep through his body. He knew her, the way she thought, she'd want to know everything. "You need to get some rest. I'd better leave and let the guy finish his work."
"I can rest later. Right now, I need to know how you escaped. Did D'Argo and Chiana help you?" She clenched her fingers, drawing his attention back to her.
Shining soft and warmly expectant.
His choked down the bile rising in his throat, "No, I, they didn't. Someone else helped me. Turns out I had an ally. But we, I still had to stay away until the coast was clear." She scrutinized him and he felt a heated rush of shame race through his body, his ears felt as though they were on fire. He could read her eyes but she read his just as easily. Suddenly she stiffened; her face paled taking on an almost alabaster translucence and rigidity. Her battle trained fingers tightened around his in a vise-like grip. He winced as the blood left his fingers.
Darkened with understanding.
He'd fumbled for words, "It wasn't what you think Aeryn. We were hiding out. Scorpy and the Scarren were after us. I thought I'd be a statue again the next day." He tried to control his breathing, fighting the pain that felt like heated knives piercing his gut.
She seemed to stare through him then took one deep shuddering breath. Her next words hit like a sledgehammer. "Crichton, look me in the eye."
Crap, no, not this, he'd thought. Paybacks `are' a bitch. After everything he'd been through to have his own words come back and bite him on the ass. Again, he swallowed down bitter tasting bile and faced her.
Stricken with pain.
"Just tell me the truth. I think I deserve that much. There was someone?"
He nodded once, "It didn't mean anything, I swear. You and I we weren't...let me explain."
Her fingers slowly unwound from his. She looked down and smoothed the blue sheet at her waist. "You don't owe me any explanations. I've done nothing to deserve your loyalty."
His voice was a harsh whisper, "That's not true. It wasn't like that, please." He groped for her fingers again, they felt limp and lifeless.
Another shuddering breath racked her slender frame. Slowly she raised her head
"You found someone you `clicked' with. You had every right do to that. Go now, you're right. I need to rest."
His breath came in harsh rasps. `Aeryn, please we need to talk."
Her shoulders squared suddenly. He'd almost stumbled as she pushed him away. A hoarse, almost alien voice came from her throat. "No-More-Words."
Hollow and beaten.
He staggered back out of the door into the sitting room, his mouth open trying to force air into his lungs. His hands were clasped tightly over his stomach because he was sure that they were the only thing keeping his guts from spilling onto the floor.
Steadying himself with deep breaths, he'd turned to leave, and then remembered that he hadn't told her that they would be departing the planet in three hours, arns. He moved toward her door, glancing through the viewing window just before pushing it open. Then he froze.
Aeryn lay facing away from him curled up in a tight ball, her back and shoulders heaving convulsively. Then he heard her, harsh guttural weeping that seemed to be shaking her slender frame apart. The sight of her in so much pain rocked him to the core.
He'd only seen her cry like that once before. That time he'd been there for her, been there to hold and soothe her. He'd lost that right. He'd caused this pain and his heart felt like it was breaking. He swallowed hard in his throat, forcing back the visceral response from his stomach. He managed to stumble into the corridor, dropping down onto a nearby marble bench. He felt hot tears prickle his eyes and looked up at the ceiling willing them away.
It wasn't supposed to be like this, damn it. Where was it written that he wasn't allowed just a mindless fling? He was the one that had been brushed off. He was the one that was going to marry a woman he didn't love. How many times had he almost been killed? He'd given up the chance to see his family and the people he loved forever. He'd survived the vacuum of space. He'd been bronzed, decapitated, thrown in acid and reconstituted. And he'd been the one who'd given up a little girl that would grow up without him.
The only half way decent thing he'd had was some no strings attached sex with a beautiful woman he'd never see again. A woman who knew exactly what she wanted, who she wanted and how many times. It was supposed to be easy, like the song said, `If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with.'
Why couldn't it have been that simple? Why couldn't he have that one thing? 'You know why Johnny. You're a big boy. You know there is no such thing as a free lunch. Just like you know you're going to be paying for that tasty little bit of fast food for a long time. Just like you know that if you move right now you're going to leave an extra-large, deluxe combination pavement pizza smack dab in the middle of this lovely marble floor.'
He'd sat for almost an hour on that bench by the door, waving away anyone who tried to enter Aeryn's room. Finally the pain had ebbed away and numbness had set in wrapping around his tired body like a cocoon. He'd located the technician who'd been working on her before and left the message about the departure time with him. Then, he'd slowly made his way back to his quarters.
Aeryn had piloted the transport pod for the return trip. He'd briefed the others on her condition and they had interpreted her silence to be a result of her injuries. He hadn't enlightened them. He hadn't done much of anything actually. He sat in his usual position next to Aeryn and enjoyed the total lack of sensation. Numb was good. Numb was nice. If he was lucky he'd stay like this for days or even weekens. No, he wasn't that lucky, he'd better enjoy it while it lasted.
The others had compared notes trying to string all the assorted events into one somewhat understandable whole. Thankfully, no one questioned his overnight absence, seeming to just be grateful they'd made it off the planet in one piece.
Rygel had gone into detail explaining his somewhat underhanded maneuverings to keep them alive. "And you Peacekeeper," the Hynerian had continued with an angry glare in Aeryn's direction. "Vanishing in the middle of everything without a word. You almost got us all killed."
"That's right," Chiana chimed in, gliding over to stand just behind John and Aeryn. "You should have said something. We didn't know what happened to you. For all we knew you were being tortured or worse. We were all worried." The young Nebari reached to rest a hand on Aeryn's arm and then thought better of it. "John was worried about you too." Her head bobbed affirmatively as she beamed a smile in his direction.
For the first time since they'd left the planet Aeryn volunteered a comment. In a surprisingly soft voice she said, "It's all right Chiana. John showed me just how worried he was."
He had half turned toward the sound of her voice. For one brief moment she looked directly at him.
Hollow and empty.
With his peripheral vision he saw Chiana and D'Argo exchange warm smiles. They'd interpreted the soft tone of Aeryn's voice for shyness. Oh, this was rich, they actually thought that the two of them had had some kind of `Welcome back from the bronze-age party' complete with hugs and kisses. Hate to disillusion you, Big Guy, Pip but you're only half right. There were hugs and kisses but they weren't with Aeryn. Why? Well, you see for the first time in my life I can literally say `I screwed up.' By the way Chi, thanks for pointing out to Aeryn that while I was supposed to be worried about her I was out boffing someone else. She would have put two and two together eventually so why waste time, right?
The others asked for the events leading up to Tyno taking his place at Katralla's side. That should have been rough but the numbness helped. He'd related the events almost dispassionately, staring blankly out of the view screen all the while. D'Argo has rested a brawny hand on his shoulder afterwards, silently showing that he understood what it was like to not watch your child grow up.
Surprisingly Rygel had proved helpful. Gruffly pointing out that John's actions had given Tyno something that he'd never hoped to have, a life with the woman he loved. "He's a good man and a good advisor. The two don't always go together. That child will be all right Crichton. Tyno will treat her as a special gift, a blessing." The Hynerian's words had been oddly comforting. Odd, because they came from a creature who was an acknowledged bigamist and had sired countless children.
The two women had had been silent. Chiana, because her upbringing had doubtless been so tumultuous that probably to her way of thinking as long as you survived your childhood you were okay. He'd wanted some response from Aeryn. That look that she shared only with him that said, 'I know you're hurting and you're not alone.' It didn't come. He'd hazarded one glance in her direction.
Dark rimmed, staring determinedly forward.
After they'd arrived aboard Moya he approached her. He'd suggested that she go to her quarters to rest and let him and the others unload the supplies they'd brought back from the planet. He'd taken a deep breath ready for her protests of refusal and arguments about her fitness. They never came, without a word she left the corridor and limped away.
That was not the Aeryn Sun he knew. He'd rather she kick his ass then walk away defeated as she did then. Who would have ever thought he'd wish for a quick pantak jab?
The next few hours passed quickly. Zhaan had taken him aside and apprised him of her favorable opinion of the planets healers. Then she has asked about Aeryn's mental state, explaining that she'd never seen the former Peacekeeper so completely withdrawn and apathetic.
He'd thought about enlightening her but what could he say? He wasn't ready to explain his actions, he didn't understand them very much himself. The Delvian had noted his hesitation and smiled with understanding. "It's all right John," she said in her usual soothing tones. "Someday, we'll all be ready to talk about the events of the last few days. Someday is not today."
Pilot had noted to him that Aeryn had left her quarters, explaining with some bewilderment that she was in the Maintenance Bay, exercising. He'd understood his surprise, Aeryn had a perfectly equipped exercise room available to her, so why go to the Maintenance Bay to exercise? Then it had become clear, she wanted to see him, but wasn't ready to seek him out, typical Aeryn Sun tactics.
He'd rushed there but took a moment to calm himself before going in. Forcing himself to keep his movement to a stroll he entered casually. Taking in her slow deliberate movements he was awed again by her sheer physical strength and muscle control. He headed to his module and hopped in before addressing her, tossing off a few innocuous comments to gauge her reaction.
She'd continued her exercise without acknowledging his presence, moving, as impossibly as it seemed, even more quickly. He noted the slight trembling of her legs and wondered how long she would have kept it up before he came into the Maintenance Bay.
Finally, he'd added a heartfelt, "I'm just glad you're okay." She'd shot him one look as he continued, "But I have noticed that you're not talking to me."
Then her pushups stopped. He pretended to fiddle with the inside of his module all the while completely conscious of her movements.
The lightning bolt had struck when he saw what she was holding. A tiny crystal bottle of, hell, he'd never even found out what the stuff was called, but he knew exactly what it meant.
All pretense of interest in his module had vanished. He'd turned and leaned his elbows over the edge completely focused on her limping movement toward him. Her eyes locked on his.
Terrified and vulnerable.
He'd sat frozen as she moved forward, while his conscious mind screamed at him, 'Oh, God Aeryn, did I do this to you? Do you honestly think that I would turn you away? Don't you know how I feel? You don't do you? You know that I care and you know how much I want you but that's not the same thing is it? After everything we've been through, I'm so sorry that I've made you doubt me.'
Then she'd stood before him and he took the bottle from her. For one moment he'd thought about just throwing it aside and refusing to take the test. He didn't care about the results; whether they could have healthy children or not didn't matter to him, she was all that mattered. But then he realized at that the test was important to her. That is was the Aeryn Sun way of saying that she was ready to think about a relationship. Her way to say it without words.
It had been almost like a dream, the feeling of being at once, both observer and participant. He watched himself touch the stopper to his tongue and then repeat the action with her. And then she met his eyes.
Hesitant but hopeful.
He'd stared down at the bottle as he put the top back on. Suddenly he'd thought of what her reaction would be if the kiss wasn't sweet. Would she take it as a sign that their possible relationship was doomed? Was simply taking the test enough for her?
Leaning over the edge of the module they'd quickly touched tongues. For one breathless moment she'd hesitated and his heart seemed ready to leap out of his chest. Then she moved forward and they'd kissed.
That one kiss, so totally different from any they'd shared in the past. It had been almost frightening in its intensity. It mattered in a way no other kiss in life had mattered. Then it ended. Slowly he'd sunk back into the familiar confines of his module studying her expression all the while.
Breathe, he reminded himself as she turned and limped away. He'd savored the taste in his mouth, different than before, more like honey this time. He watched her slowly leave the Maintenance Bay. He'd wished she'd look back just once. All he'd wanted was a flash of those beautiful, expressive eyes to tell him all he needed to know. But she didn't, so he was left to speculate.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. The balls in your court now Sunshine, I won't push you anymore. What happens now? He considered the ramifications of what had happened between them that day as he absently nibbled on his thumb. Soon, he'd have to get out of the Farscape, go back to his quarters and try to get some rest. He already knew what he would see when he went to sleep.